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Grand Rapids, MI

Embarking Blog

...on the journey towards restoration of all things

Maturing into Childhood


It seems to me that so often as we humans "mature," we lose so much. We lose the ability to wonder with childlike suspension of disbelief. We lose the ability to enter the transcendental story, or at least the feeling of being trustingly lost in that wonder with a childlike creative imagination. We reason. We get practical. We grow critical spirits. We lose a more immediate connection to the divine that could fuel our dreams, and revision our reality less in terms of what is "realistic" and seek what is more "idealistic." (Even though the "idealistic" is often more "real" in the eternal sense that what we today sense in this fallen world as "real.") William Wordsworth, a series wordsmith and poet was keenly aware of his own slipping from the simply beautiful connection to eternity, which made it harder and harder to write poetry and resonate with the eternal. Especially when he experienced grief and the growing realization of his own mortality did this childlike sensibility feel more and more strained. You can here it in this poem aptly titled "Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood":

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:

The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star,

Hath had elsewhere its setting,

And cometh from afar:

Not in entire forgetfulness,

And not in utter nakedness,

But trailing clouds of glory do we come

From God, who is our home:

Heaven lies about us in our infancy!

Shades of the prison-house begin to close

Upon the growing Boy,

But he beholds the light, and whence it flows,

He sees it in his joy;

The Youth, who daily farther from the east

Must travel, still is Nature's Priest,

And by the vision splendid

Is on his way attended;

At length the Man perceives it die away,

And fade into the light of common day.

How do we work against the gradual death of our eternal sensibilities as our bodies gradually age toward death? Is it possible to maintain a child-like trust and connection to goodness, a suspension of disbelief, and a creative imagination in a world that cries out with injustice, poverty, hate, and death? Is it too idealistic to think that a few renegade revolutionaries of love can truly speak new life into a world corrupted by such sadness? What does it mean to be "nature's priest"? And do we still "trail clouds of glory" in such a way that glory infiltrates, penetrates, and transforms? Is hope the remembrance of the future, or only of a unrecoverable past?

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